New Year, New Focus

Every year I start out with, “I’m going to blog more, I’m going to shoot more and I’m going to post more”; then, reality hits and it doesn’t happen.  This year, because I want to take better care of myself mentally and not put the weight of this upon myself, I am not going to set any resolutions. However, my usual goal setting is going to happen, because I achieve more when I set goals, but they will be things that will enrich my life and not make it more stressful or things that won’t make me feel guilty if I fall through.

Another thing that is going to happen this year, is I’m going to focus my energy more in doing concerts and open myself up to doing more local band portraiture work.

Band-7

 

I also want to do more nature photography which takes me to my happy place.  I will continue to do the occasional wedding and portrait shoot; in fact I have a wedding on the books for August of 2019 and I know I will be photographing my favorite little and her family a few times this year.  I really want to focus on what drives me which is the music and being out in nature.

I want to grow my Instagram and will be focusing more on the concert side of that with my @photocreationsbydeb page.  I may create a new one for my own personal work with the natural environment, but time will tell.

The point is, I’m not going to goal myself to the degree where I beat myself up if I don’t achieve the goals.  I’m putting them out there, if they are completed, great! If not then that’s ok too and I will just work smarter on the important ones.

A Quick Look Back

In 2018 I decided to take a full vacation, somewhere other than Florida.  I went to North Caroline to spend time with girlfriends who know me better than just about anyone (and they still love me, imagine that!). I began planning early which made the excitement build.  It was such a wonderful trip with lots of mountain air to clear my head and exploring new and exciting places.

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I look forward to a wonderful and exciting 2019!

Happy New Year!

North Carolina Bound

I have not taken a vacation, a real vacation in more than a dozen years.  I carry a pretty heavy schedule majority of the time due to working a full time job and photographing events and concerts thought out the year.  But this year I decided I needed a break, a long two week break in the mountains of North Carolina.  My best friend of almost fifty years lives in a little town called Concord.  So on October 15 I boarded flight 818 and headed north. IMG_1422

It was a very short flight; less than an hour and a half and was uneventful.  We landed on and I made my way across the tarmac to my waiting friend.  I should mention that she too is a Debbie.  When I got off the plane the temperature was cooler, but still warm, however I was in for a surprise.

On Tuesday we took off on a road trip up through the Pisgah National Forest and up through the mountains searching for some color and some waterfalls.  The color was missing from this scenario as North Carolina had longer than normal summer temperatures which was keeping the leaves from changing.  Not to mention two hurricane’s had passed through the area.

Our first stop was a little diner where I enjoyed a nice plate of NC style BBQ, one word; Yum!  Our adventure continued as we drove through the mountains of the Pisgah National Forest and the weather took a turn and it started to rain.  This did not stop our trekking the beaten path to find a waterfall; not only did I find one, but a covered bridge too!  Giant score for me photographically speaking.  The rain was coming down pretty steady but my excitement built as I heard the sound of rushing water and once we arrived the sound became deafening, but in such a wonderful restorative way.IMG_1373North Carolina-3

This next week we stayed close to home and I was able to photograph some local birds and experience a change in temperature.  Then on Saturday our other best friend flew in so we made another road trip into Charlotte to pick her up. Did I mention she too is a Debbie? (North Carolina will never be the same).

 

That weekend we invited a few friends who live in the area over for a gathering, it was great to see them and to meet their families.  So much love in one place……incredible.

On Monday October 22 we three Debbie’s took off on a road trip once again.  We drove up through the Blue Ridge Parkway and I was able to find more color, the temperature had dropped from the upper 70’s to the mid 30’s and settled around 45 degrees.  For this Florida girl it was cold, but the crisp air, sharing time with my best friends and just enjoying the ride and the color seeping through the trees was something I can’t explain in words, only heart can.  We drove up to about 5000 feet, found a lovely little restaunt to have lunch  and then off to find Linville Falls.  We didn’t hike to the top, but I was happy with what we found.  Continuing our drive we found icicles popping out of the side of a mountain.  So we pulled in to a parking area and I hiked back to the area where water was seeping out of the rocks.  My lungs were screaming with the thinner and colder 37 degree air, but it was so beautiful.

I needed this time away, I needed to do some life reflection and to be with my girls who know me so well.  I have not laughed or loved like this in a very long time.  They are amazing; we are amazing to have had this friendship of 50 years that is so deep and unshakeable. The T-shirts Debbie brought us says it all the back has the three D’s and it says “True Friendship Grows Forever”.

I love these girls so much and I was sad to depart.  I will be back…..again.

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Time Off

Autumn through Spring has me hopping when it comes to photography work.  Lots of concerts keep me from having very much free time and when I get any, it’s only for a few hours at most.  I do a lot of traveling and with editing my personal time is at a premium.

The past few weeks I have had completely free weekends and I took advantage and went camping.

My first adventure was over Mother’s Day weekend where I spent a lot of time with my youngest son Tommy Owen  at Trail Lakes Campground where I stayed in one of the wonderful cabins.We took an adventure and walked through an area where no one really goes.  It was around a lake that was full of alligators and nesting Green-back Herons.  Sometimes we didn’t really have a path to follow, we just allowed the lake bank to guide us.

 

 

We finished the day with dinner then off to Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk to attempt some night photography.

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The streak is an airplane

This past weekend I went camping at Myakka River State Park, it’s been a few years since I have been there and I made sure to secure my favorite spot.  The first evening was beautiful and I did a lot of shooting.

 

Saturday I went to The Ringling Museum for the morning and afternoon.

 

Upon returning to my campsite a heavy rainstorm ensued.  The rain continued all through the night and into the early morning.  I ended up leaving a little early because of the rain.  It was still a great weekend to be away enjoying the natural environment.

This weekend will be back to my concert shooting, so watch my Facebook page for some upcoming photos.  Until next time, from behind the lens.

Camping & Superheroes

 

I really have been negligent with my blog.  I can only attribute it to pure laziness.  I must get out of that mindset and really buckle down.  I tell myself it’s because I don’t have any content, which really isn’t true, I have the content, I’m just lazy.

So here goes a new post, and hopefully this will spurn me into doing more writing and shooting.

This past weekend I took a much needed break and went camping.  I got to hang out with my youngest son Tommy and we tried some night photography work, but the clouds wouldn’t cooperate so I really didn’t get much.  We hung out with a giant snake and I took photos of Tom and he of me.

I also scheduled a portrait photo shoot with one of my favorite little girls.  I really don’t take portraits of children often, because they wear me out, mentally & physically, but this little lady is so very special.  I have had the privilege of taking photographs of her since she was about six months old and have every 6 months to a year since.  She is on the cusp of turning four (December) and honestly you would think as a toddler, she would be all over the place, however around the age of two, I had her complete attention.  I alway allow her to dictate when our session is finished (and she has), but she has always given me one hundred percent.  I have asked her to pose a certain way and have shown her and she does it…..without question.  This weekend was different.  I still showed her what I was wanting, but I took it a step further and asked her how she wanted to pose; what I got was just incredible.  This child micro-moves like a model.  She also uses her eyes, and I just love that about her.  Here are a few of her photographs showing her sass and Superhero self!

If you like what you see feel free to visit my Facebook page and give it a like!  and follow me on my Social Media sites.

Rod Stewart & Cyndi Lauper

A few years ago I had the opportunity to see Sir Rod Stewart in concert, I purchased a really good ticket and was excited to drive to the east coast to see him.  A couple of days prior to the concert I had gotten the flu and was terribly ill, however I was hoping to feel better and attend the concert in Sunrise.  Day of the concert get’s here and I am still not feeling 100%, but I kept thinking by the time I need to leave I will feel better.  NOPE, the time came to leave and I tried to go, but it wasn’t going to happen.  I was really bummed and I kept the ticket to remind myself how close I got.

Rod Stewart was returning in concert again, and I decided this time to put in for credentials to photograph him along with Cyndi Lauper.  As the time approached I had not received word so I had given up and made other plans for the day.  An email came at 10:59pm on Friday night, but I didn’t open my email until mid morning Saturday, I was ecstatic  to learn that I had been approved to photograph he and Cyndi Lauper at Amalie Arena in Tampa Florida and quickly printed out the parking pass and the release form, got my gear together and headed out the door.

Cyndi Lauper came out strong and was incredible.  Rod came on stage with the flair he’s known for, he was a bucket list artist for me and what an honor to photograph him, he was fabulous!  The extra treat was a last minute change in number of songs I could shoot, as they added a song with he and Cyndi singing together!

What a great experience in a place I had never photographed before.   And even though I have been doing this sort of photography for quite some time, I did learn a few things; bring your ID, they need it for you to get through security, I didn’t have it on me, but they let me in anyway,  and bring a small step stool,  I actually have one, but it’s heavy and I have already looked at some online which I will be purchasing soon, it will come in handy.

I think this concert was what I needed to relieve me of the funk and writer’s block I have been having.  Please enjoy….until next time from the pit.

 

Moving Forward…

 

I feel as if I’ve been MIA for way too long.  I have not written much since the end of April, because life took me for a loop for a while.  I’ve been stressed and really haven’t felt much like writing, always had good intentions then as soon as I would get home, my brain kicked off and I shut down.  I’m not sure what I am going through, but it’s definitely a funk of some sort.  I have been trying to figure out the reasons for it and have come up with several plausible excuses.  Moving; this was a big one, moving for me, being alone is extremely stressful.  I did have some wonderful help from friends and my youngest son on the big move day, but still I did a lot of loads by myself.  I think in the beginning of the move I really didn’t have a place to live, and had a lot going on in the photography part of my life and it sent me over the edge of being confused and stressed.  The next element to lead up to this funk is that I’ve not had enough down time, and I don’t mean just weekends at home, I mean true down time with being out of doors camping and spending time with my son.  My schedule this past season was so busy I didn’t have time to really release myself to the outdoors.  I miss it, I miss spending time with family, and I think that has a huge play in my current feelings.  And third, I just have no motivation, my creativity has decreased and I think it all relates back to reason one & two.  I am tired……really tired, the kind of tired that all you want to do is to stay in bed and sleep kind of tired, but I make myself get up, get dressed and go out.  Last night was the first time in quite some time I did photography for me, for my own pleasure and although I totally enjoy going out with my shutterbug friends, I felt as if I was detached and not really into what I was doing; this needs to change.  I took some beautiful shots which I will include as a slideshow at the end of this writing.

I need to get myself back to being excited and wanting to go out and shoot beyond my concerts, which I still find so enjoyable and exciting! I have the possibility of four of them in the next couple of weeks with one of them getting me away and in a hotel for a night….this will be good, because I can then take myself to visit someplace new the morning after.  I will not only be photographing three of my top bands, I will also be attending the concert as fan.

My energy definitely goes up when it comes to concerts; I love the excitement of being in the pit and challenging myself to get those near perfect shots, I also need to get out into nature and stop coming up with excuses on why I can’t or won’t.  I need to be behind the lens……..

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The Truth About Preparedness

I have a routine when it comes to an upcoming shoot.   I try to do the same things over and over so that I don’t forget anything, because many times I’m further from home than normal and I don’t have anyone who can bring me any missing components.  Prior to getting ready, I take my gear out and decide what body and lenses I will need.  Will I need extra batteries and SD card?  Do I need my remote shutter? What about a flash?  Once I determine what I need I clean the lenses and pack the bag I will be carrying it all in.

That scenario happened this past Thursday as I had an arena shoot with Lynyrd Skynyrd and I was using two camera bodies and two lenses; one long and one wide.  When I returned home I emptied my bag and downloaded my photos.  All was well……

Until……Saturday evening comes along and after spending the day cleaning house I started to get ready for an event I shoot for every other month during the fall/winter  months;  The Cape Coral Bike Night.  Nothing unusual, I grabbed my bad and headed out the door.  I completely forgot to go over my checklist of what I would need, because I figured I had my gear from Thursday still in the bag.  Nope, I get ready to shoot and all I had were two camera bodies and no lenses.  Panic sets in, then I realized I could still shoot the band, but use my iPhone 7 and shoot through Lightroom in RAW.  If there had been national acts playing I would have taken the time, run back home and retrieve the lenses I needed.  But instead I really had to pay attention to my camera/phone settings to get the images I was looking for.  I shot wide as I new those images would be best, and I set my phone’s ISO to 400 and shot at 1/250 sec.  The camera lens is F1.8 so it’s fairly good in low light, thank goodness! Were these my best images? No of course not, but they were usable and I was able to salvage the night and it was fun thinking out-of-the-box instead of relying on great camera gear.  Let me know what you think, did I nail it with the iPhone?